Blood squirted from Travis Craig’s nose like water escaping a pinhole leak in a water balloon.

He got off easy.

Craig’s broken nose forced him out of Saturday’s Cook Inlet Conference bloodbath at Anchorage Football Stadium in the first quarter, leaving him safe from further punishment as Service handed the Mustangs a 42-6 loss that wasn’t nearly as close as the score indicated.

Chugiak and Eagle River each took big losses on Saturday night. The Mustangs fell 42-6 to Service at Anchorage Football Stadium, while the Wolves dropped a 48-21 decision to Bartlett at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium in Chugiak.

Chugiak's loss dropped the Mustangs to 2-1 in the Cook Inlet Conference and overall. Eagle River fell to 0-2 in the CIC and 0-3 overall.

Now it’s getting serious.

Cross country runners were all business on Saturday, Aug. 20 when the Bartlett Invitational officially kicked off the season with one of the year’s largest meets.

“We’ve got a lot of freshmen, and for some of them they’ve never run in a race with this many people,” said Eagle River coach Jacob Bera. “For some of them it was an eye-opener.”

Chugiak earned a 3-0 win over Eagle River on Aug. 25, sweeping the Wolves 25-21, 25-15, 25-8 at Chugiak High.

Eagle River opened the first game with a 12-7 run, but Chugiak rallied to take the first game. Eagle River never led again.

Chugiak improved to 2-0 in the Cook Inlet Conference, Eagle River fell to 1-1.

Both teams will play in the Chugiak Invitational tournament, which begins at 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26 and continues the following day at 9 a.m.

Six up, six down.

Chugiak continued its football dominance over Eagle River on Aug. 19, rallying for a 35-14 win at Chugiak.

“We knew we could come back and win it,” said Chugiak running back Justin Schneider, who finished with a game-high 175 rushing yards.

Schneider’s two-yard touchdown run with 4:42 left in the third quarter proved to be the game-winner. The big score came less than a minute after Eagle River grabbed its first second-half lead in the series on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Peter Kott to Kelechi Madubuko that made it 14-13 Wolves.

Duke University freshman Kelly Cobb, a 2011 Chugiak High graduate, is already making a name for herself at the NCAA Division I level.

Cobb, the 2011 Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year, has been named one of Soccer America’s top-10 influential freshman for 2011.

A 5-foot-9 forward from Peters Creek, Cobb scored 98 goals in just three seasons with the Mustangs before heading to Duke. She was a 2010 Parade All-American and is a member of the United States U-20 women’s national team.

Members of the winning football team walked off their home turf Friday night with sadness. Instead of the usual rush to meet adoring families and girlfriends and pals, the boys shuffled slow and quiet, some pausing in the shadows cast by empty bleachers to wipe their eyes and breathe.

There’s crying in football.

Thanks to an influx of first-year players, Chugiak High’s tennis team is growing by the day.

Thirty-eight were on the team as of last week, and third-year head coach Sally Jo Cook expected more to join.

“I imagine we my hit 50,” she said.

The Mustangs ended last season with 52 on the squad, Cook said.

Freshmen are joining the team in droves, she said.

“This is a stellar year for freshmen that has come out,” Cook said. “It’s kind of exciting.”

For children in military families, moving multiple times throughout their adolescence becomes commonplace. But that doesn’t make entering a school full of unfamiliar faces any easier.

However, athletics can help. Playing a sport is one way to form tight bonds quickly — a truth the Eagle River High tennis team knows well.

In a school full of military families like Eagle River, tennis is a great way to make friends, junior Jacob Klaameyer said at the Wolves’ Aug. 18 match against West High.

Sophomore Hannah Spainhour can attest to that.

It’s a tale of two turnouts in flag football, where Chugiak is awash in players while Eagle River doesn’t have enough to field three full teams.

Neither team’s coach has a good explanation for the phenomenon.

“Honestly, I have no idea,” said Chugiak’s Jon Schroeder, who had 88 girls come out for the girls-only sport.

Eagle River’s Matt Turner said he can’t explain why just 30 kids showed up at Eagle River, just a few miles down the road.

“I really don’t know,” he said.